Wednesday, July 2, 2014

For Your Hurting Friends...

It has been a long time since I have written anything.  Truthfully, I'm only writing now because I do not know what to do with myself in an apartment all alone.  Once again, I am hoping that writing will help empty out the craziness running rampant in my mind.  I'll go ahead and warn you, this is not an uplifting and encouraging post as I usually write.  Nor is it a post based on self-pity.  It's simply some ramblings from the mind of a very sad and confused Mama.

The past 18-19 months have been beyond the most bizarre and surreal time in my life.  I have learned some things about myself during this time.  I have picked up on some things that I will not pass on later to my hurting friends, and I have learned some things that I feel could help anyone in any situation.

Here's the bottom line.  We live in a messed up world.  Hurt, desperation, confusion, pain, betrayal, and a million other things are ever present in daily life.  And, just because someone looks as if they have it all together or they have a smile on their face, it absolutely does not mean that there is not some kind of hurt in their life.  I have composed a short list of my suggestions of what to do and what not to do for your hurting friends (this advice is for me as much as it is for anyone else).

To Do:

*Listen.  
*Love unconditionally.
*Give hugs.
*Share smiles and laughs.  
*Bring a snack--something simple, silly, or a known favorite.
*Send a note--a kind word can carry a person through a tough day.
*Be present--you don't have to say a word.  Just be there.
*Encourage.
*Distract--take the hurting person away for a movie or any distraction.  A two-hour movie can provide a wonderful time of no thinking.
*Volunteer together--helping others is always a win!
*Pray for them.  Pray with them.  Pray on their behalf.

Don't Do:

*Don't try to fix the problem.  More times than not, a hurting person just needs to unload the junk in their head.  They are not expecting a quick fix.  They just need someone to listen.
*Try to stay away from "I know exactly how you feel...".  While you may have a similar story or have traveled down a similar path, realize that your hurt/problem is rarely exactly like someone else's.    If the hurting person asks for your experience, share it.  But don't force your story on them...let them process their hurt and ask from your life as they can handle it.
*Avoid cliché sayings if you can..."hang in there", "it just takes time", "it'll get better" are some of the most frustrating things a hurting person can hear.  The one hurting knows they don't have any choice but to hang in.  There is no time limit on pain, and the recovery healing time is not a designated time. And, unless you can guarantee that it'll get better, try not to say it.  In the middle of a storm, even though you can see hope and a better tomorrow, a hurting person can't always see a bright future ahead of them and it can make them feel as if there is more wrong with them by feeling hopeless.  
*Don't give up on your friend.  Don't get frustrated with their inability to see hope.  Just be patient.  They know hope is coming...it just takes awhile for some of us to accept that.
*Don't let them give up.  Check on them.  Remind them that they are supported.

I have been so blessed to have a great support system in my life.  I have incredible parents, amazing siblings, a wonderful church family, and friends who are extremely faithful.  Throughout all of the ups and downs, I have known that there are people who I can call anytime.  I have people who will just sit and listen, who will yell with me, who will cry with me, who will hold me tight when they have no words to share.  I have people who check on me everyday.  I have people who fight for me.  I have people who pray for me, especially when I have no ability to pray.  

I want to be that kind of friend to others.  I want to be a person who is sensitive to hurt and pain and who responds appropriately.  It is going to take me awhile to be that person.  Currently, I am so despondent that I am struggling to be a good friend at all.  There are days when I feel completely checked out from reality.  Friends, forgive me for being overwhelmed by my circumstances.  It is my aim to be a better friend soon.  Thank you for your patience, support, encouragement, and love.  And, thank you for the great care you have shown my children and me.  

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